The management of drug addiction in Malaysia is coordinated by the National Narcotic Agency (Agensi Dadah Kebangsaan).
There are 3 major areas in the rehabilitation program:
- Detection and detoxification
- Rehabilitation in an institution
- Supervision in the community and follow-up are (Jagaan Lanjut).
DETECTION AND DETOXIFICATION
This process is the responsibility of the Ministry of Health. There are 22 MOH hospitals gazetted as detection centres and a few detoxification centres. The Detoxification process is done using the “cold turkey” method. The cold turkey method means that the abuser has to undergo the withdrawal symptoms without any forms of relief e.g. medication.
REHABILITATION IN AN INSTITUTION
Rehabilitation Institutes or Pusat Serenti and are available throughout the country. Here the drug dependent person would undergo an 18 months to 2 year programme. The aim is to rehabilitate the person in a controlled environment.
SUPERVISION IN COMMUNITY AND FOLLOW-UP CARE (JAGAAN LANJUTAN)
Drug rehabilitation is a long process even after a person leaves the rehabilitation institute. Supervision of a person from Pusat Serenti for 2 years by the Drug Rehabilitation Officer (Pegawai Pemulihan Dadah) is to allow integration of the person into the community. The officer will assist the process of adaptation and adjustment of the person’s in the community without drugs.
PHARMACOTHERAPY – Naltrexone
This is an opioid antagonist and when taken, would block all opioid receptors in the brain. Naltrexone appears to reduce the craving for and the pleasurable effects of abusing opiates. People who benefit from naltrexone treatment are those who are highly motivated to stop abusing opiates. When a person on naltrexone takes opiates (heroin or morphine), he will not feel any euphoric effect. Naltrexone is not for those who are currently abusing opiates.
They must be drug free for at least 7-10 days normally before starting naltrexone. Naltrexone is not addictive, people do not feel high or down and it does not cause physical dependence. There are no withdrawal effects after ending naltrexone treatment. Naltrexone is not a cure, but when used as part of a treatment plan it can help some opiate dependent people remain abstinent. It is a valuable tool in the treatment programme which includes therapy and support.
WHEN YOU HAVE DECIDED TO QUIT
- Stay away from friends who are taking drugs
- Learn to control your emotions
- Ignore the psychological cravings
- Get a job and be productive
- Join a support group
Change your life style – active participation in physical activities and increased interactions with your family